The librarian at the school where I teach is very against Accelerated Reader. She says that it limits kids from reading the books that interest them. I agree too that is why I allowed kids to complete book reports over books that were not AR books and get points that way. However, I do not think AR is all that bad. It can encourage kids to read because in my classroom, students can earn prizes for getting a certain number of points. Plus, if they meet their monthly goal, there is always a prize for that too. However, with this being a small school, the AR program was discontinued.
Yesterday, my class made our weekly trip to the school library. The students are allowed to check out three books. It is my rule that two of the books can be picture books and one of them must be a chapter book. I require the chapter book because otherwise, my students make daily trips to the library. However, I know many of my students do not enjoy reading and will never be able to finish a chapter book. Plus, even though I have no problem with third and fourth graders reading picture books, I also want to encourage them to read chapter books.
Before we left the classroom to go to the library, I reminded my students that they must have one chapter book. I also reminded the kids that they needed a picture book because they are reading to the kindergarteners every week. Once we arrived in the library though, the associate told my students that they were not to check out picture books because those were for the little kids. She said that was a rule put in place by the librarian. I immediately corrected her and told her that my students needed picture books to read to the kindergarteners. And even if they were not reading to the kindergarteners, I would still have told her that some of my students need picture books. The associate was not very happy when I told her that my kids would be reading to the kindergarten every week and then she made a comment that this would mean more books to put away on the shelves.
I thought it was pretty hypocritical of the librarian to say that third and fourth graders could not read picture books when a few months ago she did not want kids to be limited. And really, many picture books are at a third or fourth grade level.
At least my students are reading. And I believe that they are reading the right level of books because many of them are very low readers. A couple of months ago, I brought a stack of my picture books from when I was a kid and my students were going crazy over them. The librarian knows nothing about my students.